DAY 54, BUS 2: Turku
18 June 2018
For our last day in Finland we were parked on one of the main shopping streets in Turku. The volunteers from Finland worked very hard to attract the attention of the shoppers and the people heading out for picnics.
We were joined by Li Andersson, Chair of the Left Alliance political party and Taimi Rasanen from the unemployed organisationt, Turun seudun TST. The message from both was very clear, the new ‘activation’ approach is creating unnecessary conditionality which is making access to minimum income more difficult. The condition to find part-time work to qualify for the higher minimum income is punishing those with the most difficulties. Minimum Income at adequate levels with minimum conditions for access, must be the future.
As EMIN we made three appeals: 1) that Finland returns to the role it had played strongly in previous times to be a champion for a more social Europe, 2) that Finland defends the importance of high levels of social security, including minimum income at a level that enables people to fully participate in the society and 3) that Finland delivers minimum income in a way that respects peoples dignity and recognises their capacities to shape their own futures in the best way possible.
Just as we were about to leave Turku a march for the rights of trans-gender people had as their starting point the same place where we had the bus parked. I was reminded of the saying ‘an injury to one is an injury to all and a victory for one is a victory for all’.
It was then time to say good bye to our team of volunteers from Finland, including Jouni, who had travelled with us from Poland and facilitated interesting exchanges about learnings from our tour.